As elected officials, we often say our first and foremost function is to provide for public safety.
I’ve defined that to include pedestrian safety and safety that comes from such things as speed humps, bike ways, street lighting and stop signs. However, at its core, public safety is clearly associated with our police.
Tonight, council is asked to approve a budget for the Central Bucks Regional Police Department that nets out in excess of $6.5 million. Among the three participating municipalities, Doylestown Borough’s portion of that budget will be almost $3.3 million. That $3.3 million represents just over 45% of the anticipated Doylestown General Fund Budget for 2022.
These figures are substantial. However, without the benefit of regionalization, which began in September 2015, our costs today would most likely be higher and the quality of police services would not be nearly as high.
From the very beginning, we expected regionalization to provide for better training and better equipment at a more economical cost than if we had gone it alone as an independent police department. I’ve been proud to be one of the borough’s representatives on the Central Bucks Regional Police Commission since inception and to have had the responsibility of chairing the commission in three different years.
Under the direction of Chief Knott, we have changed the culture of the department from paramilitary management to a culture of change through shared goals. Long before recent events put an additional spotlight on the nature of policing, the Central Bucks Regional Police Department and the commission were acting to implement goals toward community policing.
Five years ago, we took the lead on behalf of nine police departments in Bucks County to acquire a Department of Justice grant for body-worn-cameras. In 2022, we will replace those cameras and the accompanying software with new and improved technology.